Round Five of the 2019 FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship, the Rallye Weiz in Austria, got underway last DFriday (July 19th) with the competitors being challenged by the first six of the fourteen special stages.
It was the Lancia Delta Integrale of ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons which held the top spot after the first day of action, posting the fastest time on all of the six special stages, finishing the day 1m25.2s ahead of their nearest rivals and well ahead of the second placed Category 4 competitor after championship leaders Mats Mysell and Esko Juntilla suffered a technical problem on the fourth stage of the day in the no101 Porsche 911 SC.
The Audi Quattro of Italian crew ‘Zippo’ and Denis Piceno ended the day in second overall and in the lead of the Category 3 battle over two minutes ahead of Austrian crew and reigning category three champions Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner in their Porsche 911.
Karl Wagner had been flying, setting the second fastest time overall the second special stage of the six special stages but on stage three the Porsche lost over two minutes with an unknown problem, dropping the car down the order.Whatever the problem was Wagner then posted the second fastest time over on the next three special stages to finish the day fourth overall but facing an uphill struggle to close the gap to the Audi on day two.
Anders and Ingrid Johnsen ended the day in third overall and at the head of the ultra competitive Category 2 battle. The Swedes in their Porsche 911 RSR finished the day 38 seconds ahead of championship leaders Paolo Pasutti and Giovanni Campeis in the no116 Porsche, the Italians in 5th overall. The third placed car was the no110 Porsche of round four winners Carlo Mylle and Steven Vyncke, the Belgians in ninth overall.
The no131 Ford Escort Twin Cam of Ernie and Karen Graham was once again the car to beat in Category One and the British crew ended the day in 15th overall and over two minutes ahead of their nearest class rivals and 3.5 minutes ahead of championship leaders Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D’Angelo in the no130 Porsche 911S.
On Saturday morning ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons built on their lead to secure victory on round five of the 2019 FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship.
The Italian crew posted the fastest time on six of the eight special stages held on the second day of the event to finish the rally with a time of 1 hour 40 minutes and 55.0 seconds, 1m46.7s ahead of their nearest rival and 13m05.5s ahead of their nearest EHSRC Category 4 rival, the BMW M3 of Will Graham and Michael Johnston.
The Toyota Celica GT-Four of Jari Latvala and Jouni Saarijarvi was third in Category 4, finishing the rally 57.7 seconds behind Will Graham’s BMW and 14m03.2s behind the lead Lancia Delta.
‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons now lead the Category 4 Championship on 73 points, 17 points ahead of Mats Mysell and Esko Juntilla, the Swedes retiring on Day One, their Porsche 911 suffering a technical problem. Will Graham is just behind Mysell on 52 points.
Second overall and first in Category 3 was the no108 Audi Quattro of ‘Zippo’ and Denis Piceno, the Italian crew adding maximum points in Austria to the class win they secured last month on the Ypres Historic Rally in Belgium. They finished 2m59.5s ahead of the no103 Porsche 911 of reigning class champions Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner. The Austrians went off on SS3 on the first leg of the rally and spent the day trying to close the gap to the Audi Quattro, but to no avail.
The no106 Porsche of Pentti Veikkanen and Timo Jaakkola finished third in class and sixth overall, which enabled the Finns to maintain their Category 3 championship lead after five rounds, with 62 points to the 58 points of fellow Finns Esa Peltonen and Jyrki Saarto who finished 4th in class in the no115 Toyota Starlet. Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner are on 57 points, with ‘Zippo’ on 54.
The Triumph TR8 of Klaus Wilkman and Hanna Valonen finished 7th in class but the Finns are still in touch with the leaders currently on 51 Points, just 11 behind Pentti Veikkanen and Timo Jaakkola.
The overnight leader in Category 2 was the Porsche 911 of Anders and Ingrid Johnsen and the Swedes started the second day well finishing SS7 in 4th overall, SS8 in 6th and SS9 in 5th. The Porsche had been suffering from an ignition problem with the engine losing power. But on SS10 the Pirelli rain tyres Johnsen had fitted to the car overheated and he spun off the stage. There was no damage to the car but it was the end of the rally for the Johnsens.
The Porsche Carrera RS of Paolo Pasutti and Giovanni Campeis picked up the class lead and finished the rally in fourth overall, 8m22.5s behind the Category 4 Lancia Delta and 53.1s ahead of their nearest Category 2 rivals, the Porsche 911 RSR of round four winners Carlo Mylle and Steven Vyncke. Mylle still leads the Category 2 Drivers Championship on 66 points, just seven ahead of Paolo Pasutti on 59 points.
After the disappointment of retiring from the lead of the Ypres Historic Rally last month with a gearbox failure, Ernie and Karen Graham took the Category 1 victory in Austria. Their Ford Escort Twin Cam finished in 13th overall and six places ahead of championship leaders Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D’Angelo in a Porsche 911 S. The BMW 2002 Ti of Elias Kivitila and Timo Tuominen was the third EHSRC championship contender home at the end of the Rallye Weiz in 21st overall.
Photo Courtesy of siehe Bildtext